MillerCoors reduces water usage during dry spell

MillerCoors in Irwindale has found ways to reduce the amount of water it uses to brew beer during California's drought.
Friday, August 08, 2014
It's simple: no water, no beer. That's why it's such a precious commodity at the MillerCoors brewery in Irwindale. Nearly 20 years ago, during another drought, the plant decided to think long-term: conserving water would help the community and the company.

"Our plant really looked at that and said what can we do to be more conservation focused, and we've saved over the last five years approximately 150 million gallons of water," Edward Gharavi, the brewery's technical services manager said.

That's a reduction of nearly a third of their total water consumption while still producing the same amount of beer, 84 million cases a year.

MillerCoors did it outside the plant by eliminating several acres of grass and planting water tolerant dryscape. Dryscape are California native plants that cut the water usage for landscaping by 80 percent. Inside the plant, there is also new equipment, a simple change that brings big savings.

The brewery's stainless steel belting and conveyor was changed over to plastic to save water.

"With plastic, we do not need any type of lubrication to transfer the bottles through this piece of equipment," a MillerCoors employee said, adding that that saves about 200,000 gallons on an annual basis.

The water the company uses to wash bottles is recycled for other uses, which reportedly saves 10 million gallons a year.

In addition, the plant is now a zero waste facility. It doesn't send any waste to landfills. For this, the plant received several awards from the Irwindale Chamber of Commerce for preserving the environment and water conservation.

"When the community actually understands that we have been on this journey for a long time and that it's something that is a focus and a core value to us, that is actually very appreciative," Gharavi said. "We wear that as a little bit of a badge of honor to say, 'hey look, we've been recognized.'"

MillerCoors says it will continue to try and save more water in the future, so it can keep the beer flowing.

Related Topics:
food drought california water beer Irwindale California
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